Apple Tablet PC prototype reported

Reliable source Rob Bushway reported recently a trusted source has claimed the existence of an Apple Tablet prototype and furthermore that he/she spent some hands-on time on the device.  Here’s what Rob’s source reported:

…And it exists, honest, seen a prototype. Instant On,
ASUS-Tatung whiteish looking, running a reduced
version of OSX, with some funky start-up PDA like
Apple icon menu. Touch only (white touch pen), least
the version I saw. Dunno if it will make it to market,
but I think what I saw, is what these NDA-signing
reporters have saw. Played with it for maybe 5 mins
before it was wisked away.

Rumors of an Apple tablet have been circulating for years and the interest these rumors generate demonstrate the demand for such a device from Apple.  I have stated several times I would love to see Apple produce a tablet for a number of (perhaps selfish) reasons: Apple would bring innovation to the genre; interest in the Tablet form factor would go mainstream; Apple knows how to market; and competition is always good.

This prototype as described sounds like a large PDA more than a Tablet PC if the "reduced version of OSX" description is accurate and if so would likely backfire in my opinion.  Apple and Microsoft (and OEMs) listen up- what drives the Tablet PC form factor acceptance is the ability to use the same OS, programs and data on the Tablet that the user has on his desktop.  We already have stripped down Tablet-like devices (PDAs) and the small Tablet PC must be a full computer to satisfy the needs of the prospective consumer of such a device.  Consumers who want a small slate with a stripped down OS already have such devices on the market and they don’t sell well.

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